Black activists organized for racial justice for years, but the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police pushed a large, diverse swath of protesters to support them.
To say that 2020 has been rough is putting it mildly. But even amid the death, division, and chaos, people have stepped up and shown us that there is still good in the world. While some of them reject the “hero” label, the sacrifices of these Americans deserve recognition for their impacts on our lives. Today, we are shining a spotlight on those who’ve fought against racial injustice during a pandemic that disproportionately killed Black people.
The movement for Black lives emerged as the most influential cultural change agent of 2020.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, as many as 26 million people attended demonstrations in support of Black lives. In June, public support rose to a height of 67%, according to a Pew Research Center survey. The accomplishments of the more than 1,000 protests from city to city have been underrated but notable.
Minneapolis has since banned chokeholds, and other cities, including New York, have followed suit. The protests put a renewed focus on criminal justice reform. Confederate statues, painful reminders of America’s racist legacy, came down from their pedestals. From Dallas cracking down on deadly police force to Minneapolis, Portland, and Denver taking police officers out of schools, activists in the Black lives movement took the momentum of the year’s tragic events and turned it into power.